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Men plead guilty to harboring illegal workers at restaurant

September 25, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two Mississippi residents and their company are pleading guilty to harboring illegal workers at a restaurant.

Entering pleas Tuesday to illegally harboring immigrants were 61-year-old Guo Guang Lin, 35-year-old Cheng Lin and their company, Lin’s China Buffet of Meridian.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge David Bramlette is scheduled to sentence the Lins on Jan. 8. U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said each man faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Lins and the company will forfeit $731,000 and the company will pay a $200,000 fine. Prosecutors have said the Lins are permanent legal residents.

Codefendant Yan Fei Tang, accused of entering the country illegally from China, has said she will plead guilty later.

Prosecutors said Homeland Security Investigations agents saw a van make trips from a house carrying undocumented immigrants who worked at the restaurant between 2012 and 2017. In February 2017, agents searched the restaurant and found nine workers in the country illegally. Prosecutors said none of those people had to verify their identity or legal status to work when they were hired and weren’t asked about their immigration status.

Cheng Lin admits paying employees in cash without paying taxes. He was fined $23,250 for similar violations at a New Orleans restaurant he owned in 2007 after agents arrested numerous people who had entered the country illegally. He admitted to paying employees in cash, and that employees were provided lodging, transportation and meals at no expenses.

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This story has been corrected to show that Yan Fei Tang is a woman, not a man.

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